Saturday 22 – Sunday 23 September 2012
Face to face with her assassin, Queen Josslyn attempted to appear relaxed, but her eyes gave away the terror she was feeling.
‘What’s the matter, Josslyn? Suddenly you have nothing to say?’ Elle taunted the Queen to speak.
‘On the contrary, dear, I have a lot I’d like to say to you, but I see little point in doing so because you’ll be dead in a matter of minutes,’ Josslyn replied. ‘You seem to have forgotten about my man behind you.’
Elle turned her head and glanced at Francois. With his sword drawn, and an intensely aggressive expression set upon his face, Francois cut a fierce figure. Elle smiled as she turned back to Josslyn.
‘You mean him?’ Elle pointed behind her.
‘Indeed,’ replied the Queen, ‘Francois is my most trusted man.’
Elle began to snicker, and it angered Josslyn.
‘Laugh while you still can, peasant girl,’ Josslyn snapped.
‘He is your most trusted man? Now that is an interesting concept,’ Elle retorted.
Finally understanding that Elle had no fear of dying, Josslyn began to feel vulnerable.
‘Francois, now is the instant that I require you to do your duty. Stand by my side and protect me from this peasant.’
‘Good luck with that,’ Elle laughed. Francois remained steadfast behind Elle.
‘Francois, I order you to execute this assassin,’ Queen Josslyn snapped, but he did not move.
‘My brother knows where his loyalty lies, and it is not to you,’ Elle responded.
The colour drained from the Queen’s face, leaving her pale and ashen.
‘Brother?’ she asked.
‘Yes,’ Francois replied, ‘brother. But then if you really had been our mother’s good friend, you would have recognised us a long time ago. Instead, your ignorance allowed me to ingratiate myself into your court as the one person you trusted implicitly, and that gave me every opportunity to learn as much as we needed to formulate a plan to rid the land of your presence.’
Josslyn’s body stiffened as he spoke; her mind flooded with memories of all of the intimate moments she had shared with Francois, and all of the times she had been exposed to potential threat.
Seizing the opportunity, Elle drew her sword from beneath the gown she had acquired, and lunged forward the eighteen or so inches that lay between herself and Queen Josslyn. The sharpened metal pierced the blood red gown Josslyn had chosen to wear, and ripped through her chest.
‘That is for my mother, the rightful Queen of this land,’ Elle said. She twisted the sword in deeper, and felt it hit the back of the throne. ‘That was for all those innocents whose lives you stole.’
Josslyn gasped; blood gurgled in her throat and spurted in droplets from her mouth.
‘Francois, would you like to do the honours?’ Elle asked him as she stood back to view her handiwork.
‘I’d be delighted,’ he replied and stepped closer to the throne. With brute force, Francois pushed on the sword. The wood of the throne behind Josslyn cracked and splintered as the sword slid through it.
‘Here she sits before you, Elle, pinned to her throne. I give you Josslyn, Queen of our land,’ Francois spoke the words with bitterness and hatred in his tone.
As the life faded from Josslyn’s body, Francois spoke the final words she would ever hear.
‘You have been given the courtesy of a dignified death unlike the death you afforded our mother. You stole her life, her dignity, and her trust. We vowed to avenge her death, and that promise we have upheld. Like our mother, you will also be buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave, and you will become just a bad dream in the history of this place.’
When he was sure that Queen Josslyn was dead, Francois turned his attention to his sister.
‘Time for you to get out of here, and time for me to set up the next part of our plan. I will see you later tonight at Barnaby’s.’ He tightly embraced his little sister and sent her on her way. He would face the remaining death squads alone.
. . . To be continued . . .